The Squirrel’s Birthday and Other Parties: Toon Tellegen and Jessica Ahlberg
by Toon Tellegen (Author), Jessica Ahlberg (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 5-8
Hardcover: 156 pages
Publisher: Boxer Books (November 3, 2009)
Source of book: Publisher
What to expect: Birthdays, Animals, Friendship
This is a unique collection of 9 stories that I consider to be sweetly abstract—after reading this book, you would not be surprised to discover that the author, Toon Tellegen, is from Amsterdam (if you catch my drift). Each story reads like a delirious-but-interconnected dream—the kind that you would happily remember upon waking. It’s Squirrel’s birthday and he’s inviting all of the animals to his party—even a whale. Squirrels party, and the other subsequent animal parties and meetings, give an introspective offering of life and friendship. The illustrations, which are by Jessica Ahlberg, are delicate, interesting, and a charming expression of the text. I don’t expect that this is a book everyone will “get,” however, those who enjoy being lost in thought (and those who enjoy eating cake) will undoubtedly take pleasure in this absurdly, thoughtful book.
An excerpt from The Whale and the Seagull—the 6th story in the collection:
They straightened their backs and the whale rested a fin on the seagull’s shoulder, while the seagull draped a wing around the whale’s middle.
Then they danced, silently and seriously, on the moon-drenched beach, to the sound of the slow surf. Everyone held their breath and thought: “No one has ever danced like this before.”
Add this book to your collection: The Squirrel’s Birthday and Other Parties
You may also like: The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne